[V6-12v] reverse lights?

apowell at colocougs.org apowell at gocougs.wsu.edu
Tue Dec 27 13:16:03 EST 2005

"Brian Heringer" <heringer at canada.com> asked:

[My wife has a '94 100 2.8 automatic.  When she engages reverse the back up lights do not come on
and the passenger mirror will notkick down while the button is in the correct position on the dash.
When the mirror kicks down, the back up lights are on  - maybe once out of 15 tries.  Is there a
switch somewhere that I need to replace?]

First, before you get carried away, make sure both lamps in your reverse lights are the correct
ones. One of my friends had a number of recverse light problems causes by a store that sold him
lamps with the wrong base. But then...........

Here's another vote to check the wiring harness on the trunk lid. I just finished repairing the
wiring on my wife's 1993 90Q. The symptoms were:

1) The door locks started locking by themselves, sometimes when the trunk lid was closed, and
usually when the car was shifted from reverse to 1st gear. (This turned out to probably be a short
in the reverse light wire.)

2) The gauges started blowing fuses, then the dash lights started blowing fuses, and both usually
happened when the car was shifted into reverse.

I opened the trunk, traced the wires down the left side (there are seven wires in the 90Q, all
running down the left side of the trunk lid) and started wiggling the wires where the bend occurs as
the trunk is shut. Sure enough, I heard the door locks trigger when I wiggles the wires.

The fix:

1) I carefully split and peel back the outer sheath for 2" on either side of the suspected break
area. BE CAREFUL because this stuff is tough and it's really eash to cut your hand if a knife or
razor blade slips. Try NOT to cut the insulation on the wires.  

2) Once the breaks were found, I cut out about 4" of material (2" either side of the break) in each
wire and replaced it with a setion about 1" longer than the original. Note - if you want to vary the
placement of the cuts to stagger the repair joints and reduce bulk in one place, you can certainly
do so.  I cut to two different lengths to achieve this.

3) Don't use butt splices to connect the wires, because they are much too bulky and won't stand up
well to repeated wiggling. Solder the connections, BUT - NOTE THIS - get some heat-shrink tubing and
slide two pieces over the inserted wire before you make the last solder connection. 

4) After the soldering is complete, take a book of matches, position the heat-shrink turinb over the
solder joints and use matches to heat the tubing and shrink it to form a protective covering. This
is about the least bulky way you can make this connection.

5) I re-wrapped the entire work area of the harness with friction tape (electrical tape is more
brittle0 and used small cable ties over the friction tape to secure it. I then used other cable ties
to secure the harness into place on the trunk lid and hinge.

This entire repair will take perhaps 60-90 minutes if you take your time. Tools required:

Soldering iron / solder
Heat-shrink tubing
Wire stripper
Replacement wire (color is up to you - "primary wire" from Auto Zone works fine)
Sharp knife or razor blade to CAREFULLY cut sheath off wiring harness
Beer (as required)

My bet is that you will solve your problem. I used slightly heavier wire to replace the original,
with the thought that it might last well.

Al Powell
apowell at gocougs.wsu.edu
1958 Fiat 1200 Transformabile Spyder
1983 Datsun 280ZX Turbo
1993 Audi 90Q
1991 Camaro RS Convertible
1997 Chebby Blazer
1999 Chebby Blazer

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